COLUMBIA CITY — With two state and six regional qualifiers returning, the Columbia City High School boys track team looks to hit the ground running this season.

“We lost two seniors that were point-getters for us last year,” head coach Ryan Trieschman said. “Really, the core of our team has come back from last year.”

Trieschman said he couldn’t name stand-out athletes because the entire team is so good; however, state-qualifiers Alex Scharpenberg, a high jumper; and Liam Hesting, a thrower, return for the Eagles.

“I feel like I’m going to leave somebody out,” he said. “There’s a ton of point-getters on our team; we’re so stacked, it’s not even funny.

“We’ll have a good season.”

Last year’s season saw several major wins, including the county and conference championships.

“It was a good season last year; I’m hoping we can do the same and just be competitive,” Trieschman said.

Newcomers include senior Michael Sievers, whose performance on the gridiron impressed Trieschman.

“I think he’s going to be a big help,” the coach said. “There’s a few freshmen who might fill in some spots for us (as well).”

Part of Trieshman’s recruiting strategy — for both boys and girls track athletes — is face-to-face interaction during passing periods.

“I try to talk to kids in the hallway, and try to find the best athletes in the school,” he said. “I get the rosters of all the sports teams, and I just go through and email people, hunt them down in the hallways, talk to them, find out what they’re doing in the spring and try to encourage them to do track.”

In addition to his team’s athletic skill, Trieschman highlighted their strong academics.

“We had seven academic all-state or all-state honorable mention last year; I think that’s what I’m probably most proud of,” he said. “Yes, the goal is to compete at a high level and move on, but having kids that have 4.0 GPAs and are going to go and get some really nice scholarship money for college and might not necessarily run in track, but get money for their education, that’s awesome.

“That’s what I love most about working with these guys,” he continued. “I have some really, really smart kids in the classroom. They like to work hard on the track and in the classroom, and that’s going to get them a lot farther than any race out here.

“We’ve just got great people, and that’s what’s fun about doing this.”

Trieschman’s goals for the year include continuing his team’s weekday meet winning streak, as well as title repeats.

“In the last two years, we haven’t lost a weekday meet,” he said. “That’s nice; it gives the kids something to work for.

“Last year, our goal was compete every day. Whether it’s against our teammates or against an opponent, we want to bring the attitude that we are here to work, and show up every time.”

He said the Eagles have a good chance at repeating their conference title, but acknowledged the tough field.

“I think we have the team to do it, but there are also some really good teams out there: Norwell, Bellmont, Huntington North, Leo,” he said. “Those are all great teams. It’ll be tough to repeat, but I think we’ve got the people that could do it if we show up in May.”

His end goal?

“Try to get as many kids to Bloomington as we can get.”